New Jersey Cheat Sheet: Triple Five delays American Dream opening, office market reaches vacancy milestone… & more

By Mario Marroquin | April 09, 2019 06:30PM

From left to right: Triple Five Group pushes back the opening date for its American Dream Meadowlands megaproject, New Jersey’s office leasing market reaches new highs, former home of “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer trades in Summit and Hartz Mountain Industries gets $115 million in financing for a luxury community in Secaucus.

American Dream Meadowlands opening delayed again
Triple Five Group confirmed a little over a week ago that the long-awaited opening date for its American Dream Meadowlands in East Rutherford will not take place until late summer or early fall, as noted by NJ.com. The decision marked the third time that Triple Five has delayed the opening for the 3-million-square-foot megamall during its ownership of the roughly $5 billion project, which was once known as Xanadu before the Edmonton-based conglomerate assumed control of it in 2011. Triple Five, which resumed construction on the retail and entertainment complex in July 2017 after securing the last phase of its financing, had previously said that American Dream would be completed and opened by March 2019. Despite the continuous changes to its opening date, American Dream has delivered good news to a few investors. Bloomberg reported last year that the megamall’s high-yield municipal bonds are outperforming investment grade bonds, returning as much as 18 percent since their issuance date a year prior. Triple Five, which also owns the Mall of America near Minneapolis, is also pursuing other major projects, such as its $4 billion American Dream Miami development, an estimated $900 million stake in a Chicago supertall and a condominium and hotel deal in Beverly Hills. As for American Dream Meadowlands, Triple Five has promised to deliver amenities like an indoor ski slope and water park, a giant Ferris wheel and reportedly even helicopters to deliver shoppers to North Jersey from Manhattan. [NJ.com]

Report finds Garden State office vacancies at 12-year low
Cushman & Wakefield’s first quarter office market report for Northern New Jersey showed sustained office leasing, new development and pricing. GlobeSt, citing data from the real estate services firm last week, noted that North Jersey absorbed more than 2 million square feet year-over-year, leading to the region’s lowest vacancy rate in 12 years. Cushman & Wakefield found that vacancy dropped to 17.3 percent, a 30 basis point drop since the end of 2018. The Morristown, Meadowlands and I-78 corridor submarkets topped the list for the highest year-over-year vacancy drops. Cushman & Wakefield’s New Jersey market leader Andrew Judd said in the report that “mid-sized deals (20,000 to 60,000 square feet) drove 30 percent of new deal activity in the first quarter. Deal volume thus far in 2019 has been diverse, with the life sciences, legal services, retail and wholesale, and manufacturing industries leading the way.” The report found that the Morristown submarket and Bergen County were tops in net absorption at 187,344 square feet and 147,910 square feet, respectively. Despite posting -6,556 square feet in net absorption during the first quarter, Cushman & Wakefield found that the Hudson County market priced the highest asking rates in both Class A office product ($35.82) and all office assets ($43.60). Third-party logistics and e-commerce tenants continued to dominate the industrial market, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Another North Jersey market report recently released by Newmark Knight Frank found that life sciences firms were responsible for an increase in office leasing activity. [GlobeSt]

‘Mad Money’ host’s former Summit home sells for $3.7M
Television personality Jim Cramer’s former Union County home recently sold for nearly $3.7 million, according to NJ.com. The property at 39 Hillcrest Avenue, which NJ.com noted that Cramer unloaded to his ex-wife for $1 in 2010 after their divorce, was sold on March 29. It has a 5,032-square-foot, five-bedroom home built in 1891. Realtor.com, a subsidiary of News Corporation, quotes the median listing home price in Summit at $1.1 million. Property records showthat Cramer and his ex-wife bought their Summit home for $2.3 million in 1999. NJ.com reported that Cramer, a former journalist and hedge fund manager who now hosts CNBC’s “Mad Money,” now owns another home in Summit, as well as a Monmouth County home in Neptune along the Jersey Shore. The Real Deal reported in 2015 on former New York Jets head coach-turned-ESPN football analyst Rex Ryan listing his former Summit home for $2.2 million. NJ.com noted the property ultimately sold that same year for $2.6 million. [NJ.com]

Secaucus luxury community secures $115M in financing
New York Life Real Estate Investors (REI), an affiliate of New York Life Insurance Company, agreed last week to provide $115 million in financing for a 469-unit apartment complex in Secaucus called The Harper at Harmon Meadow, as noted by Real Estate NJ. Rents in at the Hudson County luxury building, which opened in February 2018 and is owned by developer Hartz Mountain Industries, start at $1,975 for studios and go up to $2,910 for two-bedroom units. Hartz Mountain, led by chairman and CEO Leonard Stern, has been one of the main benefactors of the last-mile industrial boom in the Meadowlands area, which has been critical to the growth of Harmon Meadow, a mixed-use development located in Secaucus’ central business district that also includes dining, entertainment, hotels and shopping. The financing for the deal was finalized two months after New York Life REI closed on $31 million in financing for Hartz Mountain’s Jersey City waterfront asset 15 Exchange Place. Secaucus-based Hartz Mountain, which began its work in the region in 1981, has developed more than 1,500 hotel rooms, one million square feet of retail and 2 million square feet of office space within the Harmon Meadow complex. The developer was most recently in the news over an application to rezone a tract of land in the Township of Cranford to accommodate residential development for a 905-unit apartment complex at 750 Walnut Avenue. [RE-NJ]

Piscataway logistics park sale is latest NJ industrial trade
Frankfurt-based DWS Group, an asset management spinoff from German financial services giant Deutsche Bank, agreed last week to acquire a fully-leased distribution space in Piscataway for an undisclosed sum, according to Commercial Property Executive. The 2.1 million-square-foot Rockefeller Logistics Center includes a 725,000-square-foot building at 300 Ridge Road that is preleased to electronics retailer Best Buy and a 311,000-square-foot industrial center at 100 Ridge Road leased to Fujitsu General America and office supply company Humanscale. The two newly completed industrial properties were sold by the Rockefeller Group and joint venture partner Pacific Coast Capital Partners. Cushman & Wakefield’s Gary Gabriel represented the joint venture alongside Andrew Merin, David Bernhaut, Brian Whitmer, Kyle Schmidt and Ryan Larkin. In a separate analysis, Cushman & Wakefield noted that industrial rents in North Jersey have increased to an average of $8.78 per-square-foot, a 6.9 percent increase year-over-year. NJBiz reported last week on Camber Real Estate and Advance Realty Investors buying a three-building industrial portfolio in Mahwah, a deal that reportedly included $31.2 million in acquisition financing from People’s United Bank. GlobeSt reported on the $19.75 million sale of the former Regina Vacuum Building in Rahwah, as well as the $16.5 million sale of an industrial building in Jersey City to Simi Capital and the Criterion Group. CPE also recently noted the $8.5 million sale of an industrial building in Hamilton to the Black Creek Group, while Penwood Real Estate Investment Management paid $7.77 million for an industrial warehouse in Carlstadt. The Real Deal reported in February on New Jersey’s robust industrial market. [CPE]

Landlord looks to sell Morristown office complex for $95M
Keystone Property Group has selected HFF, the commercial brokerage being absorbed by JLL, to market a 487,000-square-foot office complex in Morristown. Real Estate Alert reported last week that the Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based investment manager had priced the property at 412 Mount Kemble Avenue in Morristown at roughly $95 million. The property is 94 percent leased to a number of tenants, including engineering outfit Louis Berger, Jacobs Engineering, and life sciences company Lonza. RE Alert noted that at an estimated value of $195 per-square-foot, a buyer’s initial annual yield would be 7.25 percent. Keystone bought the office complex from Mack-Cali Realty for $45.4 million in 2014, according to New Jersey Business Magazine. Mack-Cali, a Jersey City-based real estate investment trust, earlier this year unloaded $487.5 million office and residential portfolio in Westchester as it seeks to refocus its business on waterfront office and multifamily properties in the Garden State. As for Keystone, it is also looking to sell a seven-building office complex in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, for roughly $100 million. [RE Alert]

California’s BurgerIM opens 9 North Jersey franchises
JLL recently brokered nine leases throughout North Jersey totaling 18,000 square feet on behalf of Encino, California-based fast casual burger franchise BurgerIM, according to Real Estate NJ. JLL’s Marta Villa, Conor Ryan and Blake Shanaphy led a team from the commercial brokerage that represented landlords and franchisees for the chain in conjunction with Michael Asayag, president and CEO of Home Quest Properties. The franchisees reportedly signed 10-year leases in Bergenfield, Cranford, Elmwood Park, Englewood, Metuchen, Piscataway and Union. The Real Deal reported last year on BurgerIM signing a lease at Miami’s Hyde Midtown hotel, whose hospitality component was sold in early 2018 for $21.8 million. BurgerIM, whose new Union location will open in May, also has franchises in Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. [RE-NJ]